I READ with interest the article about the Covid situation in last week’s Advertiser (‘Burgh GP reveals fear of ‘catastrophic’ Covid hit’ - November 26, 2020).

Dr Dunn has no concerns about the safety of the vaccines. I fully agree with him.

I was a GP partner in what is now the Millig Practice in Helensburgh for 35 years.

We were very involved with childhood and flu vaccinations for our patients. We had to contend with a sizeable number of ‘anti-vaccs’, who refused to accept the efficacy or safety of the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccination without any evidence whatsoever.

These views have been proven to be completely without foundation. I cannot recall seeing any adverse reaction from MMR vaccination in all my years in practice.

We worked hard at increasing our vaccinated patients, to the extent that we were regularly able to achieve over 95 per cent uptake.

READ MORE: Coronavirus vaccine - who will get it, when and how?

It is no surprise that mumps, measles or rubella are rarely seen here now.

We are facing an unprecedented year ahead. Covid-19 is a coronavirus which kills.

We are fortunate that scientists in the UK and all round the world have already been able to manufacture, at great speed, vaccines which show high levels of protection from Covid-19, and the safety data is excellent. These vaccines have been tested on thousands and thousands of volunteers worldwide, and there are stringent internationally agreed checks in place to ensure that they are safe.

All adults in the UK are soon to be offered free Covid-19 vaccinations - I cannot stress enough the importance of taking up the offer of this vaccine.

Please ignore the false claims of the ‘anti-vaccs’, and trust our doctors and scientists here in the UK and around the world.

The vaccines will be safe and effective.

If you do not have the vaccination, you will not only be putting yourself at risk of infection, but also the risk of infecting your family members and your friends.

Please take every opportunity to keep us all Covid-free.

Dr Brian Calder, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: November 26, 2020

TWO correspondents were eloquent in your columns last week in their pleas for completion of a cycle path to Cardross.

In an ideal world, Argyll and Bute Council would have funds to build paths, revitalise the town and give free sherbet to every schoolchild. Sadly, this is not the case and hard choices must be made.

I do not know how many users are forecast for this cycle path, but would be surprised if it was in the thousands or even hundreds.

For five years I walked every day along the cycle path from Helensburgh to the Crosskeys roundabout, and I did not run out of fingers keeping count of the cyclists using the path.

There are few local residents who have not enjoyed a stroll along the pier. I have no views as to whether there is a marine use for the pier, but there is certainly a leisure use for it.

READ MORE: Renewed calls for cycle path completion after Cardross crash tragedy

It is a quirk in the nature of British people that we find it more enjoyable to walk out to sea than to walk along an esplanade.

If the council were to install a windbreak – preferably with a canopy, for the rare occasions when a shower of rain passes through the town – along with additional seating, and even a few picnic tables where visitors could amuse themselves fighting off gulls while eating their fish suppers, we would have an asset to bring happiness to a large number of people.

In a civilised democracy we take care of the needs of minorities, but when it comes to discretionary spending surely the good of the majority must take precedence.

Rob Snodgrass, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: November 19, 2020

CURRENTLY there is debate about the need for cycle paths not least of all between Helensburgh and Dumbarton. The first part of this is in place through to Ardardan.

I question the need for cycle paths, as no-one seems to use them, particularly those that are already in place – from Rhu to Helensburgh, from Helensburgh over the hill to Arden, and the section leading to Cardross.

I am aware that some cyclists claim that these paths are not good enough to cycle on, so why bother to make more?

John Ashworth, Helensburgh

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IT would appear that the depute leader of Argyll and Bute Council (Advertiser Comment, November 26) has been able to ignore several inconvenient facts in the desire to have a good old political diatribe.

The infection rate in Scotland is by far the lowest in the four countries of the UK. The death rate in the UK is the highest in Europe.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate if Gary Mulvaney confined himself to concentrating on the many problems which seem to confront Argyll and Bute Council.

James McRae, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Councillor column: Covid reality doesn't match the rhetoric

LAST Monday two representatives of the local group Plastic Free Helensburgh met with the new Morrisons community champions, Alison Sturgeon and Claire Wright, to discuss how the new store could help in their campaign to reduce single-use plastics.

This is part of Scotland’s climate change objective of net zero by 2045. The discussions covered what opportunities there would be for staff and customers to reduce, reuse and recycle at the new store.

We were pleased to discover that currently 82 per cent of Morrisons’ own-brand plastic packaging is recyclable and that Morrisons, like the rest of the supermarket industry, is committed to 100 per cent by 2025.

Plastic reusable shopping bags will be 20p to encourage reuse. Single-use carriers will no longer be available, but strong sustainably produced paper bags will be on offer as an alternative. There will be recycling for plastic bags at every till point.

READ MORE: What can Helensburgh shoppers expect from new Morrisons supermarket?

In the fruit and vegetable department there will be a plastic free section with paper bags. After Covid restrictions are lifted, customers will once again be encouraged to bring their reusable containers to the butchery and other counters.

Links have been made with the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank to share food and eliminate waste.

Initiatives to reduce plastic in the new cafe will include wooden stirrers, no plastic straws, a reduction of 25p if you bring your own cup for hot drinks and a water fountain to enable you to fill reusable bottles. The shop will recycle all its cardboard packaging.

We look forward to working with Morrisons in the future to educate, empower and support the local community.

Plastic Free Helensburgh aims to encourage the elimination of single-use plastic, the increase of recycling, reduction of food waste and to make our town a better and more sustainable place to live, work and visit.

We encourage all local groups, businesses, schools and individuals to follow our Facebook page, or email us on plasticfreehelensburgh@gmail.com to find out more. We look forward to Morrisons and the local community joining us in activities to create a cleaner, greener, plastic free Helensburgh.

Sarah Davies, Plastic Free Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: November 12, 2020

AT the UK Government’s recent spending review it was revealed that UK funding for Scotland on Covid hit nearly £10 billion.

Rishi Sunak has announced more funding for Scotland, meaning the total funding boost stands at £9.5 billion across two years. Other Spending Review announcements included the acceleration of four Scottish City and Growth Deals.

Throughout the pandemic, the UK Government has taken decisive action to protect nearly a million jobs and tens of thousands of businesses across Scotland.

The SNP Government must now stop hoarding money and use funding to protect jobs and support businesses in every part of Scotland.

Cllr Alastair Redman, Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands

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THE cut in the overseas aid budget to 0.5 per cent of national income as announced in the UK Government’s spending review last week, is shameful and a move the UK will go on to bitterly regret.

This is devastating news for the poorest people in the world and breaks the Conservative election manifesto pledge of 0.7 per cent, which it should be remembered is also enshrined in law.

It will not only hurt them, but will have a real impact on people in the UK as well.

Such a cut is simply bad economics and will end up costing more than it saves and is bad foreign policy that reduces Britain’s influence and makes us poorer in the eyes of the world.

READ MORE: All the latest local headlines from your area

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has committed to an increase in defence spending he claims as being worth £16.5 billion in new money over four years.

Such a move clearly shows the right wing in the Tory party is well and truly in the ascendancy, putting military hardware ahead of helping the world’s poorest.

While Chancellor Sunak may claim that this overseas aid cut is a temporary one, he, and we, should remember that income tax was only intended to be a temporary measure – and that was in 1799.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

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